Prepare for Your ER Visit

Sometimes a serious injury or illness means an unexpected trip to the emergency room (ER). Here you'll find information to help answer your questions and alleviate your concerns beforehand.

Top Four Tips:

  1. Bring a friend or family member – Someone who can help describe symptoms, recount family/medical history, drive you to and from the ER and watch your children, if necessary.
  2. Know your stuff – You will likely be asked about any allergies you may have, current medications, family and personal medical history and immunization history. It is important to come ready with as much of this information as possible so that you can be treated as timely and effectively as possible. A great tip is to write this down in advance and have a copy with you (in your wallet, purse, or another safe place). Also, don’t forget your photo ID!
  3. Ask questions – If you are able, write down questions before seeing your provider. It is often easy to forget them in the moment. Also, make sure to follow up with the ER staff with any additional questions during or after your visit. It is very important that you fully understand your diagnosis and treatment plan.
  4. Follow up with your primary care doctor – Once you leave the emergency room, you will likely be advised to check in with your primary care provider. This is a very important step to ensure your provider stays up to date on your health and medical history, and to ensure you manage your care after you leave the emergency room.

Other Helpful Information

What to bring to the ER
When you arrive
In the treatment room
Waiting in the ER
Billing and payment
Special needs assistance

What to Bring to the ER

If possible, bring the following items to the ER:

Photo I.D.
Your current medications or a list of current medications
Name and telephone number of your emergency contact person
Your physician’s name and location
Your health insurance plan information
If you're bringing someone to the ER, don't let them eat or drink anything until they've been seen by medical personnel.

When You Arrive

First, you'll go through a process called triage. This begins with a registered nurse asking questions about your illness or injury. The nurse will make an initial assessment of your condition, based on your vital signs, your symptoms and your injuries. You'll then be taken to an exam room or asked to wait in the waiting room, depending upon your medical needs.

After triage, our registration staff will ask you for your birth date, address, phone number, emergency notification information and the name of your primary care doctor. We’ll also need your picture I.D., health insurance plan information and a signed treatment consent form.

In the Treatment Room

Once you’re in the treatment room, the doctor will ask you about your illness or injury, perform an exam, possibly order tests or X-rays and, if needed, consult with other physicians. After you're evaluated and treated, you'll either be discharged or admitted to the hospital. Before you leave, a nurse will make sure you understand what the doctor wants you to do and how you should care for yourself at home.

Waiting in the ER

We'll do our best to see you as quickly as possible, but sometimes you may have to wait. Here are some reasons why:

  • Patients are treated based on the severity of their illness. There may be seriously ill or injured patients who need immediate treatment.
  • If your treatment requires tests, you may need to wait for results before the next part of your treatment can take place.
  • Time is required to transport and complete tests such as labs or X-rays.
  • We may be trying to contact your primary care physician or specialist.
  • A patient may be checking out and a treatment room is being prepared for you.

Billing and Payment

The amount you pay depends on your health insurance plan and the treatment you receive. You may get different bills for different services, such as fees for the emergency doctor, hospital care or other services. If you leave the ER after seeing a medical professional, but before completing care, you'll receive a bill for the time spent with Swedish Medical Center experts. Swedish does not refuse care to anyone. If you don't have health insurance or need help with payment, please let us know.

For hospital billing questions, please contact the appropriate location:
Swedish First Hill: 1-800-643-8207
Swedish Cherry Hill: 206-323-4476
Swedish Ballard: 206-781-6065
Swedish Edmonds: 425-640-4230

Special Needs Assistance

We're here to make sure your visit to the Swedish ER is as easy on you as possible. If you're hearing-impaired or speak limited English, we'll provide an interpreter for you free of charge. And, a chaplain is on call 24 hours a day for you and your family.